Paris, France—The monthly interfaith meeting of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) had the theme “Living with God Every Day.”
The 11th event in the “Scriptural Sharing” series organized by UPF’s interreligious association took place on January 9, 2022. About 15 participants gathered in the Espace Barrault conference center in Paris, with many more connecting via Internet from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
The moderator of the meeting was Dorian Gravrand from the French chapter of Youth and Students for Peace (YSP), an organization that is affiliated with UPF.
As this was the first Scriptural Sharing of 2022, Dr. Mouslim Fidahoussen, an Islamic scholar, was asked to present the plan for IAPD-France for the new year, in which a common theme for the whole year will be implemented.
The first reading brought a look into Hinduism and Buddhism. "Om Purnamadah Purnamidama" was read and commented on by Venerable Michel Thao Chan, founder and president of the Cercle de Réflexion des Nations.
Next we showed a music video, "And God in All This," by the vocal trio “Ensemble,” whose members are a rabbi and cantor in a synagogue; a lyric singer and priest; and a comedian, humorist and Muslim essayist. After the attack on the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015 and the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in July 2016, the trio responded with music.
Their initiative expresses that in France, in these troubled times, the three monotheistic religions can do something together. We are particularly grateful to them for allowing us to use their title "And God in All This" for our meeting.
Here is a video of their song: https://youtu.be/SX0lLl-6CJI?list=RDSS-xDnrk2TQ .
The second reading, Matthew 28:16-20, brought a Christian perspective. It was read by Modeste Amoussou, who is from Benin and a member of an Evangelical church. To comment on this passage, we invited Father Daniel Foucher from the Diocese of Nantes, who explained to us concretely how he himself lives with God on a daily basis.
The third reading brought a Muslim perspective. It was verses 9 to 23 of Sura 20 and was recited by Shahryar Parhizghar. Of Iranian origin, he won first prize in an international Quran recitation competition in 1985. Then the Islamologist Dr. Mouslim Fidahoussen commented on the reading.
The fourth reading brought a Unificationist perspective. It was an excerpt from the speech "The Homeland of God and the Kingdom of Peace" delivered by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon on May 1, 2004. It was read and commented on by Jacques Marion, president of the Universal Peace Federation in France, who has a great deal of international experience in Africa, Russia, China, and now throughout Europe.
Laurent Ladouce, a UPF research fellow, moderated a question-and-answer session.
Jean-François Moulinet, the coordinator of the Dialogue & Alliance interfaith forum, concluded the meeting by introducing a music video from the Koolulam initiative in Israel, which regularly brings together people of different religions (none of whom had ever met before) to learn to sing and harmonize a song in three different languages: English, Arabic and Hebrew. The resulting concerts bring the spirit of the new times to the world and are an excellent example of interfaith cooperation. We hope to inherit their dynamism at the beginning of this year which, in Asia, is the year of the Black Tiger! https://youtu.be/XqvKDCP5-xE.
Recording of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWufWl702BM
Dialogue & Alliance is a cooperation circle affiliated with the French chapter of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) and supported by the United Religions Initiative (URI) and the Geneva Interfaith Intercultural Alliance (GIIA), among others.